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Juventus – Success or decline?

Article written by: @riowade_

The Old Lady, formally know as Italian giants Juventus have been through a roller coaster of positions since their launch of the club in 1987. In 1903, they adopted colours from English side Notts County where they would base their kit upon. Two years later, in 1905, the club won their first championship as a professional football club, soon did they know the rest was yet to come.

Juventus is known for its ascendancy in Europe with 29 championships, nine Italian Cups, two European Cups, three UEFA Cups, two Intercontinental Cups, two European Super Cups, four Italian Super Cups and a Cup-Winners Cup. Then in 2006 the Calciopoli scandal where Juventus and many other big names were punished by rigging games by selecting favourable referees. Juventus however were deemed to be the most guilty even after an appeal. They were relegated to Serie B with an original of 30 points deducted which got reduced to 9 in the end due to constant appeals. Juventus had never been relegated from Serie A and were the most successful side in Italy, even for them this would have been hard for them to come back. With a fully new board appointed and a re-polished recruitment business Juventus won the Serie B title at the first attempt and finished in a respectable third position on their return, with big names lining up to join them as the fiasco was all but over.

In 2012 Juventus won their first Italian title in nine years, winning it consecutively for four straight  years and last season Juventus conquered the Coppa Italia by beating Napoli 2-1 in Extra Time making it the tenth time Juventus had conquered this formidable title in Italy. With a League and Cup double on their hands it only seemed Juventus were destined for more in the Champions League Final against Spanish favourites Barcelona. With Barcelona being more victorious on the day it seemed to me that Juventus had won a fair amount of people over with their workmanlike approach.

What’s next for The Old Lady? With their talisman heading back to his home in Argentina it only seemed right to consider his long term replacements to lead the line. As Juventus often opt for the 4-4-2 diamond approach we consider Mario Mandzukic leading the line after his pivotal contribution to Bayern gaining success in the years. Mario is a perfect replacement for Tevez, he would conquer all challenges in front of him and he is a player that can lead the line very well indeed. Another face would be Paulo Dybala? A very youthful player with a lot to prove considering his €32m arrival, but i’m sure he’ll relish playing under an experienced manager like Allegri. Simone Zaza is another striker in the firing line, signing for €17.96m which is a cheap amount of money considering Zaza’s form for mid table team Sassuolo. Most Italian teams base themselves on a rigid defence which can be hard to break down with strong midfielders in front. With the certain departure of club legend Andrea Pirlo to the MLS, could Sami Khedira really replace him? Passing really isn’t one of Khedira’s strong points, he strives upon breaking up the play and striding forward running at defenders, more of a box to box midfield rather than the deep lying playmaker, the role of which Pirlo played.

However, this could all depend on the futures of midfield dynamos Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal which have both been linked with moves away from the club. This could make Allegri have a completely different mindset, could he be forced to play with natural wingers to accommodate his midfield and striker Mario Mandzukic who thrives off balls whipped in. With Vidal likely to miss the the first number of games due to his success in Copa America I believe it’s almost certain to happen. Moving onto the classic defence of Juve either its a back 3 or 4 they almost are certain to keep a clean sheet. However with doubts over the fitness of Italian pair Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini would it be time for Italian U21 centre-back Daniele Rugani who impressed whilst on loan at Empoli this season. The young defender had a successful season at Empoli not receiving a single yellow card. This has also led to interest from Arsenal which should definitely be rebuffed as Rugani has huge comparisons to Italy and Juve legend Gaetano Scirea who led Italy to World Cup victory in 1982.

With fierce competitors strengthening well in the transfer window so far it looks as if this will be the most eagerly anticipated season in the Serie A to come.

Article written by: @riowade_

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